July 27, 2010

Lake Whatcom History Facts

I love little factoids and in doing research on the history of Lake Whatcom, possibly the most pristine, beautiful lake in the northwest, I found some gems.

Factoid 1)  The first people to inhabit Lake Whatcom were the Coastal Salish people who developed a village on the south end of the lake.  The village was called hahch-wah-AHM-eck. Side note: This tribe was later defeated by the Lummi tribe.

Factoid 2) In the late 1800′s three towns formed around the lake; Geneva, Silver Beach, and Blue Canyon. In its peak, Blue Canyon had over 1000 residents.

Factoid 3) In 1906 swimming is banned on Lake to prevent pollution

Factoid 4) In 1946 J.H Bloedel donated 12.5 acres of mill tract to Bellingham City.  This is now what we know as Bloedel Donovan Park.

Factoid 5) By 1890 Lake Whatcom had its first steam boat named “Rose.”

Factoid 6) By 1904 Whatcom logging company was producing 100,000 board feet of lumber and 300,000 shingles.  Consequently, by 1918 Timber around Lake Whatcom was nearly gone.

Factoid 7) In 2007 City of Bellingham estimates 95,000 people obtain drinking water from Lake Whatcom. I'm not sure what that number is today but I'm sure it's increased.

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